Friday, August 18, 2006

Notes from the Rat Catcher

Well my summer’s worth of work has almost reached its end and so I have decided that a few things are noteworthy.
1. When I grow up I want to be just like Ruth.
Ruth is one of the researchers who work in the lab which I have been working in and there are a good few reasons why anyone should be aiming to be like her when they grow up. For one thing she wears neon socks on unpredictable days. Secondly she is sufficiently greyed to be around 50 (or else has had some hard years) and yet still finds it perfectly acceptable to discuss rubberwear and pornography at inopportune moments. She is deaf as a dormouse and frequently comes out with comments such as, ‘Ah the soul, a robust but notoriously difficult thing to quantify.’ She recycles and cycles and in short is just great.
2. Killing rats is hard and could well be morally unforgivable, animal rights activists may well have a point.
c. It is a tricky thing spending hours and hours and days and weeks discovering something only to find out that nobody cares and it will probably not change much if anything at all in the world.
4. I don’t like new buildings on the whole.
5. Technicians are nice if you buy them biscuits.
m. And finally, Epidermal growth factor has a pro-survival effect in dorsal root ganglion neurones placed in serum starved conditions. This effect may involve the PI3K signally pathway in 0-2 day old rats and both the PI3K and MAPK pathway in 7-9 day old rats. Riveting.

Incidently rat related online diary which is very pretty is here

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The snag and the handarbeiter

A couple of days ago I took a little time from work and had a little lunch with a certain fellow. Within the rather exotic menu i happened upon kangaroo sausage (an interesting concept I'm sure you will agree, not to mention the monkey gland sauce) and decided that this was to be my selection. It only occurred to me afterwards that I have now eaten but never actually seen a kangaroo.

And today, whilst walking relatively aimlessly I raised a smile to some workmen I was passing, as I like to with everyone I pass, and got a most curious response. 'Atleast you gave us a smile, that's better than most of you manage', they jested. Don't get me wrong, there was no malice in it, but I just didn't understand two things. For one, When they said at least there was the inference that this was a proportion of what was to be expected. And i dont know how big or small that proportion was. Should I have said hello, Been stark naked or Done a handstand? And secondly, when I am a representative for this 'you' who aren't managing what they should. I am unsure of which box I was smiling out of. Am I one of the up-tight intellectuals who look down of builders, female or just a wierdo?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Broken glass and great buildings

A funny little thing happened to me today at work. I imagine at some point I will feel the need for details of my work to escape, but for now it can be suppressed for the purpose of discourse.
Anyhow, I work in one of the shinier, newer, bigger, whiter, all-in-all better buildings recently constructed by the all knowledgeable institution of Manchester University. And against one glass wall of the white box, in which I spend a fair fraction of my time, is attached some rather old and rather beautiful glassware (there is a small and growing fascination with glass inside me). It was quite a spectacle, the light twisting this way and that through glass bent and bent again at another surface with lovely orbs and tubes. But today a door was shut and it all came crashing to the ground. As it happened I wasn’t around to witness the calamity and only observed the outcome, which was quite horrible.
And it occurred to me that all the walls shake when the doors are shut and make horribly unstable bangs. This is because the building has been created with one eye on it’s limited lifespan. Maybe this is because we have fostered an obsession with knowing how long things will be around for, and upon this the severe desire to control this outcome. I muttered to a colleague that, ‘Things used to be build to last 300 years and now they are made to last fewer than 30.’ But this isn’t true. The things which have lasted 300 years were never intended to last those 300 years. They were intended to last forever. Because when constructed they were conceived in the minds of those whose understanding was grounded in eternity, in heaven and perpetual existence. Saint Basil’s cathedral, Badshahi Masjid, Adare Manor; these were constructed to be magnificent, their demise was not considered because the assumption was that they will always stand.
Nowadays it seems as though the only thing that people wish to last forever is themselves, and the fear of this not being realised means that everything else must be made to feel relatively more temporary than they inevitably are.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Just a few little things

Knowledge versus wellbeing
I visited a Chinese restaurant but only last night (no names shall be named, other than Geraldine and that’s only because I quite like it) and enjoyed a meal with my family. And you could say that I was stupid, adventurous, childish, curious or any number of other equally descriptive terms. The short and long of it is that basically I ate a fish’s stomach. As it approached approximately 5 a.m. I was wholly punished. There was some bizarre combination of cramps, sweating, hallucination, falling down stairs and forgetting things. All together odd. And it is certain that had a certain rather lovely companion of mine not been around I might have made it down the other set of stairs and damaged something of some importance. In the morning when I was feeling much better he noted, still half asleep, ‘none of it is worth anything compared to your health’ (or there abouts, I have no doubt that I will be corrected). So this got me to thinking. Since I’d previously pretty much measured health per say as functionality if the functions that are being carried out in order to identify, define and be healthy somehow hinder that health, i.e. are risky, then how can we ever be healthy. After much consideration the best I could come up with was that health is the potential to do things which could well hinder that health but necessarily choosing to do them, but it is the comfortable feeling of having the option. But I may we wrong.

Conceal everything of value
I saw this sign a few weeks back, they have been popping up at various sites around Manchester. It strikes me as a little troubling. Why should we consider the thieves and concealment the necessary part of society and not the education to prevent the thievery? I may put up some signs, ‘stop idiots, educate people.’

And could someone tell me why this woman is under the impression her legs need shaving?

News and baking

Another moment of spontaneous baking, this time I was surprised at the simultaneous gory and supremely tasty nature of the product. All very good and very horrible things ooze it would seem. Yum.

Today i read that people on bicycles are cheaters, suicide bombs in Iraq, Israelis are killed, more Lebanese are killed, even more as Ethiopia is flooded, aid workers are shot in Sri Lanka, bridges collapse in Pakistan, 40 million people are known to be living with aids. On the plus side, my boyfriend isn't.